Music

Here Come the Judges as ‘AGT’ Returns for Its 10th Season

Monday, May 25, 2015

New York — “They keep telling people it’s the 10th anniversary. But it’s the fourth season, as far as I’m concerned,” says Howard Stern, who joined America’s Got Talent as a judge in 2012. That’s what you’d expect Howard to say. But quickly he adds that with AGT launching what everyone but Stern would consider its 10th season (Tuesday at 8 p.m. EDT on NBC), he’s having a ball with …

Not ‘Alternative’ Anymore

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Los Angeles — When the members of Faith No More took the stage of the Wiltern in Los Angeles for the first of three concerts last month, they didn’t warm up the crowd with one of their old hits. Instead, the reunited hard-rock band opened with a new song from an album that …

Stamina, Consistency Marked B.B. King’s Legacy

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Let nothing that follows detract from B.B. King’s indelible legacy — a legacy that, though King died early Thursday at 89, stands unparalleled in the history of the blues. He was an incredible guitarist, “without a doubt the single most important electric guitarist of the last half century,” as AllMusic.com put it. He …

Concert Set to Honor Stevie Wonder

Thursday, January 15, 2015

New York — Willie Nelson, Usher and Coldplay’s Chris Martin will pay tribute to Stevie Wonder at a concert next month. The Recording Academy announced Wednesday that Ed Sheeran and Janelle Monae will also perform at Stevie Wonder: …

‘Empire’ Scores Big Ratings for Fox, But Can It Soar?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Empire, Fox’s new drama starring Terrence Howard as a hip-hop mogul and Taraji P. Henson as his ex-wife and competitor, is looking like a potential triumph for the network: About 10 million people tuned in the premiere last …

India’s Brass Bands Struggle

Sunday, January 11, 2015

New Delhi — The wedding season is in full swing in India, marking what should be the busiest time of year for the traditional brass bands that lead raucous processions announcing the arrival of the bridegroom to the …

R&B Singers Confront Growing Older

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The first great album I heard in 2014 was Love, Marriage & Divorce by Toni Braxton and Babyface. The last was D’Angelo’s Black Messiah. Plenty separated these excellent records. The former, a reunion of the R&B singer and …

Creative Self-Disruption

Sunday, January 4, 2015

No less than the taxi industry or the news media, the music business was defined in 2014 by “disruption,” that tech-world buzz word referring to the way a given field is upset — and in some cases remade …

Drops Co-Founder Finds True Calling

Sunday, January 4, 2015

What a difference a year makes. Toward the end of 2013, singer-fiddler Rhiannon Giddens and her band, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, were at a crossroads. One of the group’s original members, Dom Flemons, had decided to pursue a …

Bringing Back the Blues

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Canaan — From the Canaan Old Home Days parade to Autumnfest in Woonsocket, R.I., Teddy Makalinaw and Eben Brown have covered a lot of ground since taking their Blues Brothers act on the road in 2013. But heading …

Song Leak May Help Madonna

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The year-end surprise album release is becoming a holiday tradition. First, Beyonce, then D’Angelo: Each of them released recordings that came out of nowhere to capture the pop imagination just in time for the New Year. But what …

The Passion of Joe Cocker

Friday, December 26, 2014

A few years ago we were watching a televised concert series, when the voice on the stage suddenly thundered through the TV speakers. In the flesh, with gravel and grit, Joe Cocker was live and spouting the blues. …

Meryl Streep Sings Sondheim, and Finds Her Own Voice

Friday, December 26, 2014

New York — Meryl Streep sings. Her fans know this. Meryl Streep sang in Postcards From the Edge, in Ironweed, on the children’s album Philadelphia Chickens and, of course, in Mamma Mia, the movie that improbably, given all …